Nubian Knights

Meeting you on the Beaches of the World

One day you wake up, look in the mirror and you realize you’re getting older. It might be the gray hairs in your eyebrows, , beard, mustache nose or more grey hairs in your hair.  Also, there’s the aging face and “slightly bigger”potbelly.  You may have even noticed how much weight you put on overall and can’t seem to get off although you continue to go to the gym.   Even though you recognize you’ve aged and are somewhat okay with it, it seems the community is not.
 
I talked to younger and older gay Black guys who said older guys shouldn’t be at the clubs, that they have been there, done that and they should leave the clubs to the young people.  A lot of younger guys don’t like older guys being around them and by the same token many older guys don’t like being around younger guys. It’s like we should never invade each other’s world.  Many young people aren’t open to being mentored by older men because they lived in a time without technology so what can they learn from them.
 
Older guys are viewed by younger guys as something like “child predators” and yes, there are older guys going after them. Many older guys aren’t looking at guys around their ages and a number of them are burnt out by the whole relationship thing. They’ve been in too many bad relationships to really want to be in another one so they just hang out with a friend or two. It seems the gay lifestyle caters to the young and not the old.
 

Do you think “the gay life” slows down for older Gay Black men and if so is it their choice or is it ageism?
 

(Ageism is a form of discrimination that casts judgment on the lifestyles, personalities and abilities of individuals strictly based on accepted stereotypes about their age. It is most often seen against senior citizens, but it can often be seen on the young as well. It is a method of formulating stereotypes of the lives of individual and then using these stereotypes to develop a prejudice. This negatively affects groups like senior citizens by making them feel as if they are seen as nothing but noncontributing members of a community, despite a lifetime of being an asset to society.)

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Comment by Alan Jones on July 2, 2012 at 6:10am

I am actually sitting here in tears, having read the comments on this post. I see light, life, and truth in the body of the text written to generate this discussion, and I also see some very real, humane input into the conversation here, much of what I have been living, thinking about, and experiencing, as I approach 52 in a few months. It's amazing how the things you ponder, come to light right before your eyes, and that you find others having the same dialog. 

I have been blessed to have a few young men, as well as a few young ladies(Gay and Lesbian) in my life, who love hanging out with and being around me. We make it a point to get together once a month or so, go out to a local spot here, usually a bar, or occasionally to see some strippers, and we sit, have some drinks, talk about life, what's happening in their lives, and they want to know about what's going on with me. I've always been a magnet for young people, and I've taken my role as a mentor seriously, and not an occasion to be a predator, as I've seen some men my age do. For this reason, I believe I've been blessed to be able to reach a group in this generation that many have no patience or tolerance for.

When I hang out by myself or with friends closer to my own age, since I love House Music, it is usually more people around my age, though "House" is loved by many age groups, which seem to co-exist pretty well in the same environment.

This really got to me:

3. There are no rules to say older men cannot or should not go out to clubs or social gatherings, stating those outings belong exclusively to the young.  Several years ago there was an older black gay couple on the dance floor at Bulldogs.  One of the guys was 70 and his partner was 68 (I overheard a guy asked them how old they were and praising them for being out).  They were the talk of the club that night; folk were even buying them drinks and saying they hope they could be like them when they reach their age.

My eyes actually got a lil wet reading this. 

I was in Bull Dogs in 2005, when I lived in Atlanta, and after 15 years of marriage, I decided to live my own life freely, and I discovered Bull Dogs. Love it or hate it, it's still a place where you can have a good time in Atlanta. On this particular night, this older couple, male and female came in, and hit the dance floor. This lil "pint sized" woman had the energy of a 15 year old, dancing, bending, dipping, dropping it like it was volcanic, and even the younger men took turns dancing with her. I was so elated to see this, I just stood back, and I watched her dance.

When she took a break, I walked up to her, and after greeting her with a hug, and told her how much I enjoyed watching her dance, I asked her permission to ask her the "No No" you don't ask women, and she readily welcomed the question: "How young are you." This dancing machine was 64! She told me the way she stays as agile and full of energy as she does, is to dance.

I am sorry for being so lengthy, but this subject really has gotten to me, and has spoken volumes to some of the thoughts I've been having.

Cleon, "Thank You" for bringing to life those subject matters that few truly want to talk about!

Comment by Cleon T. Day, III on June 25, 2012 at 5:49pm

Thanks for your input Carlo, the fact that you're Bisexual doesn't make your say on this subject less conclusive. It's just opinions not science. And yes, most of us who to grow old gracefully and many of us work against it by trying to say young, eating anything like youths who can burn it off right away without an exercise regimen.  Unfortunately there is a thing called ageism and when you are blessed to reach it, folk tend to want you to no longer exists in the gay community.

 

Comment by Carlo on June 25, 2012 at 4:09pm

Although my being bisexual, may make my input on this subject less than conclusive overall , in my opinion it is relevant as to social sexual interaction between "mature" men.The preoccupation with Youth per se, is prevalent both in the general social culture, and the gay social sub-culture, being primarily media inspired and fueled.This is to say "aging" is a natural process of the human existence, and should be looked upon as an asset, not a deficit in living long and well, in that it is a self- congratulatory achievement in, and of itself.Wherein , to some lies the perceived social inter-personal sexual attraction deficit of age,and aging, the loss of youthful appearance, and physical sexual desirability..The key to successful aging, is understanding truly the phrase "aging gracefully", by defining, and following your personal regimen of "aging gracefully", dutifully incorporating all elements of daily living that will enhance and assure your success in obtaining the emotionally rewarding social-sexual inter-personal interactions you desire.Personally, at the age of 61,with no chronic diseases physical or mental, I find life  a joyful adventure, and although I've been married 34 years I still experience the thrill of being desired in the" looks of sexual interest" from both women, and men of all ages,even when out with my wife.Age in as an integral variable of life is 99% perception, both psychologically, and in physical manifestation.Thus, high maintenance(daily exercise that tightens and tones, face and body, and the liberal use of face products that promise and deliver quality skin care), should be part and parcel in the life of the man who refuses to relinquish the reins of success of an emotional and sexual social life  If one is "being" of sound mind, body, spirit there is no excuse for not "aging gracefully" As for me God's ,I'm looking forward to retiring this year, completing my studies for my second PhD in Clinical Psychology and going back into Pvt Practice, in Brentwood, Tn, however my wife desires Atlanta, Ga for her buss.Although I prefer Tn.,having owned a farm there, more than likely I will acquiesce to Ga, " successful married life" or relationships being all about compromise.So accentuate the positive, and mitigate or eliminate the negative, and enjoy life as you perceive it should be for you..  .

Comment by Ronnie Odom on June 23, 2012 at 7:14pm

@Deep Blue - thank you

Comment by Deep Blue on June 23, 2012 at 12:03pm

Ronnie, Thanks for checking in and may I say Happy Belated Birthday and many more. It sounds like you have your h*** on str8 and are blessed to have like minded thinking friends who do as well. No we do not need anyone including young gays to validate us in order for us to be okay. As I like to say "I don't give a Fat Rat's A** what they think". I'm  Ok...You're Ok and that's the way it should be. As I like to say..."Keep Up The God Work"!

Comment by Ronnie Odom on June 23, 2012 at 10:32am

If older gay people have to feel validated by younger gay people , this isn't ageism, it is simply misplaced values. I recently celebrated my 49th birthday - I am so blessed and grateful to be healthy, disease free, financially and spiritually "fit", and secure in myself and sexuality - I know I'm not alone in feeling this way.  I am also glad to have a circle of gay black men in my life who could give a damn whether a younger gay person thinks they're okay.

Comment by Cleon T. Day, III on June 20, 2012 at 12:22pm

Here’s my take on it.

1. Younger guys don’t think older guys have anything in common with them and they think clubs and social gay gatherings are only for the young AND FIT.  Older people had their youth once, now it’s time for them to move on and let the youth have it.

2. Older men don’t think older guys have anything in common with them and they think clubs and social gay gatherings are only for the young. Older people had their youth once, now it’s time for them to move on and let the youth have it.

3. There are no rules to say older men cannot or should not go out to clubs or social gatherings, stating those outings belong exclusively to the young.  Several years ago there was an older black gay couple on the dance floor at Bulldogs.  One of the guys was 70 and his partner was 68 (I overheard a guy asked them how old they were and praising them for being out).  They were the talk of the club that night; folk were even buying them drinks and saying they hope they could be like them when they reach their age.

4. Too many older guys have let themselves go and too many younger folk focus on their looks as being their value.  Too many younger folk aren’t looking at their future but the here and now and too many older guys are more focused on wanting the gay world to cater to them, for the community to mature as a whole without their help.

5. Practically everything advertised in the Black Gay community focus and caters to the young and fit.  Older men just have to get in where they can possible fit in.  I remember being in Bulldogs one night at age 50 and overhearing a guy (who had tried to have me) asking another guy how old did he think I was and the guy said “35 or 36”.  The guy laughed and told him I was 50 and the other guy said “Man that’s too old, he doesn’t need to be up in here, he needs to be home resting”!

Comment by Deep Blue on June 20, 2012 at 11:02am

Here's the deal. The reason younger guys don't like being around older guys or don't want older guys at teh clubs etc...is....it reminds them subconsciously of what they have to look forward to. They can put any face on it that they choose but that is the reality. The reverse is true for older guys and why they don't want to be in the company of the younger set. it reminds them of lost youth, vigor, vitality and let's them know that they are not only not getting any younger but continue to age...hopefully gracefully.

Does"the gay life" slows down for the older set...If you mean...no longer clubbing and running the streets then yes I would think that it would and should. A seventy yr old who is trying to act like a 20 yr old is in denial of his age and needs to get a grip. Slowing down however does not have to mean sitting in a rocker waiting to die. There's a life full of opportunities for the older set...it's about redefining and recreating your life...age is not a death sentence in the Black Gay Community.

Just because we are aging does not mean that we have to let ourselves go. Whether it be graying of hair, aging of face or slowing of metabolism. Graying of hair can be a sign of distinction. I like to keep mine shaved so that it is not seen. I get a facial once a month and use skin care products that tighten and brighten my skin. I exercise daily. I've stopped drinking the coffee, beer and eating fried and other foods that create the pot belly. A change in diet to accommodate a slowed metabolism can and has worked wonders for me.



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